Mr. Harper, the students are not happy with you right now.
On the same day that the ‘Fair Elections Act’ was signed into law, the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Federation of Students announced that they would be challenging the bill at the Supreme Court. Guised as a bill to make elections more ‘just’, these organizations see it as a thinly veiled trick to decrease likely Liberal and NDP voters.
The act will strip powers from the Chief Electoral Officer, a non-partisan position dedicated to increasing the voter turnout. Student groups attribute this move to a Conservative ploy: the voters attracted by these campaigns are more likely to vote for a party other than the Conservatives. You know, like students and hippies.
Basically, according to our government, if you ain’t voting for the Conservatives, then you don’t need any extra help voting at all!
The main thrust of the case to the Supreme Court centres on Section 3 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees the “right to vote in an election of the members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein.” They claim that requiring ID violates the right to vote, though the ID provisions were watered down to just requiring proof of name, and not proof of address, which the group’s say is an improvement but not enough.
If the organizations challenging the bill do succeed and the ‘Fair Elections Act’ is revoked, we can only speculate what the next low-brow attempt at staying in power the Tories will try next. Plant drugs in Justin Trudeau’s Parliament Hill change-room locker? Hire Mexican cartels to kidnap Mulcair before the leader debates? At this point, nothing can surprise us.
Council of Canadians. Canadian Federation of Students. God speed.